30 09, 2013

Foodie Pen Pals September

By |September 30th, 2013|foodie pen pals|0 Comments|

 
This month I was sooooo excited to be paired up with Ceecee from Within the Kitchen  She was one of my first foodie pen pals back in May and she sent me another box of wonderful goodies just like she did back then.  I was so happy that this month’s foodie pen pals was another where we were sending to the same person from whom we were receiving our packages.  That means I got to return the favour.  If you’d like to see what I sent to Ceecee, check out her blog
So here’s what I got this month…
 Here’s what it looked like when I opened the package topped with a hand-written note 🙂
These beans will definitely be making their way into a homemade soup soon!
Yummy spicy plantain chips!
This will be going into a Thai curry or spicy Thai soup for sure.
I haven’t tried this yet, but I can’t wait to see how it tastes.
This has already been gobbled up!  Ceecee suggested I put it on yogourt, so I sprinkled it on my fruit and kefir and it was FANTASTIC!!!!!!
I had goji berries on my shopping list, so these came at exactly the right time!
Once again, this was a perfect foodie pen pal package.  Hopefully I’ll get Ceecee again 🙂
If you’d like to exchange packages with another foodie just click on the link at the top of this page or click here

 

13 09, 2013

Homemade Almond Milk

By |September 13th, 2013|Almond milk|1 Comment|

 
I’ve been meaning to write this post for months and finally got around to it today.  This isn’t a recipe per se, it’s just a quick how-to.  I cannot vouch for how this would work with other juicers, but it is just so easy-peasy with the Hurom juicer that I had to share for those of you who may own one and not realize that you can use it to make almond milk.
It takes hardly any time and clean-up is just a matter of quickly rinsing the pieces of the juicer.  The most time-consuming part is waiting for the almonds to soak 🙂
 The first step is to soak a cup of raw almonds for a minimum of 4 hours or up to overnight.  Be sure to drain and rinse them after soaking.
Then it’s as easy as putting your almonds into a container with 4 cups of filtered water and passing the liquid and nuts through the juicer until all is used up.  I use a half-cup measure to get some almonds and some water in each scoop.
You will end up with a lovely, big container of freshly-squeezed almond milk
 And a bowlful of almond pulp.  I’ll post a recipe soon using this leftover pulp!
4 09, 2013

August Foodie Pen Pals

By |September 4th, 2013|foodie pen pals|0 Comments|

 
I seem to be writing Foodie Pen Pals posts and not much else these days.  However, I’m embarking on a new adventure this month, so I hope to have lots of interesting info. and recipes to share once I get into the swing of things.  I’ll post more about it soon.
So, it’s another foodie pen pal post for now and this month I was paired with Kim in Toronto.  For the first time since I’ve joined Foodie Pen Pals, everyone on the list was sending to the same person from whom they were receiving their package.  It was a lot of fun to know that I was putting together goodies for Kim while she was shopping for me.  
I apologize that this post is a little late.  We have been away for the weekend attending a family wedding and although the B & B we are staying at was supposed to have free wi-fi, it was so weak that I wasn’t able to use it.  Luckily, we decided to take a few hours to ourselves this morning and found a Starbucks to relax in.  So this is what I’m doing with my Starbucks time before heading back for a family campfire 🙂
Anyway, onto the reason for this post.  Here’s the package I received from Kim…
A sneak peek at the goodies inside 🙂
Kim included a beautiful hand-written card
 I told her that I like spicy foods and she listened
 Of course you need some organic tortilla chips to go with salsa!
 And a Mexican rice mix
 Some tex-mex seasoning
 And some chocolate treats to temper the spicy treats 🙂
 All of the yummy treats!
If this seems like fun to you, head over to Lindsay’s blog and sign up for September foodie pen pals.  It’s so much fun!
19 08, 2013

Purple Prairie Barley Salad

By |August 19th, 2013|Salad|0 Comments|

 
 

Until last week, I had never heard of Purple Prairie Barley.  I didn’t even know such a thing existed.  I’ve been eating barley since I was little, but had only ever heard of whole, hulled, pot and pearl barley.  It was at the Bulk Barn last week that I first came across this new (to me) kind of barley.  Since I can never pass up an opportunity to try a new food, I had to buy some and give it a try.  I took it home and got to work on it almost immediately and came up with this barley salad.
 
Here’s what I did…
 

This is what the Bulk Barn has to say about the purple barley.

 And this is what it looks like dry.
I wanted to use it fairly quickly, so instead of soaking it overnight I decided to do the quick-soak method.  I rinsed it several times, covered it with water in a small pot, brought it to the boil, then turned off the heat and covered it for an hour.  Then I changed the water and simmered it until tender.  It lost some of its pretty, purple colour after cooking.
I made a dressing with white balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, whole-grain mustard, Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
I rinsed and drained the barley and then added it to the bowl with the dressing.
I added a bunch of chopped green onions
and a chopped red pepper.

Then I added some diced English cucumber and chopped yellow grape tomatoes.

I mixed it all together 

and then I thought “hey, an avocado would be nice in this” so I diced one up and added it.  The result was a delicious whole-grain salad.

31 07, 2013

July Foodie Pen Pals

By |July 31st, 2013|foodie pen pals|2 Comments|

 
Well it’s that time again.  My wonderful foodie pen pal this month was the lovely Myra and what a delightful package she sent me.  She listened to my likes/dislikes and (self-imposed) food restrictions and sent me a very thoughtful box of goodies. 
 This is a peek at what the box looked like when I opened the lid
 And all the goodies laid out
 I got a coconut almond bar (my Mum’s absolute favourite, so she’ll probably be profiting from this box too :))
 Yummy Simply Protein Chips and the spicy ones too, which are my favourite
 A couple of handy little packages of almond butter for a snack on-the-go
 Dark chocolate!!!
 And these bison bites, which look really intriguing.  Can’t wait to try them.
 I love Sahale snacks.  Haven’t tried this flavour, but balsamic vinegar and cayenne sounds fantastic to me!!
 Potato chips…my occasional guilty pleasure.  Myra mentioned she liked this brand when she was a kid.
 Some fancy David’s Tea!
 Mangosteen soap!  Wow, it smells wonderful.
 And one of Myra’s favourite recipes from when she did a paleo boot camp…how cool is that!?
 Last but not least, she included this beautiful card.  I love the handwritten note and her handwriting is so neat!! 🙂  Thanks again Myra for this lovely box of treats!!
25 07, 2013

Gluten-Free ‘White Chocolate’ Strawberry Muffins

By |July 25th, 2013|Muffins|0 Comments|

 
I happened upon this recipe yesterday and knew right away that I wanted to try it.  The first thing that drew me to it was that it called for fresh strawberries and I had just bought some.  Secondly, it called for raw cacao butter in place of white chocolate and how could that not be delicious?  I made these muffins today with only minor changes, which I’ll note below.
Here’s what I did…
 I melted (on very low heat) 1/4 cup raw cacao butter and 1/4 cup coconut oil
 This is what the raw cacao butter looks like
 Meanwhile, I put a fairly ripe banana in my stand mixer
 And mixed until it was well-mashed
 Then I added 1/4 cup coconut nectar
This is the coconut nectar
 And I mixed this with the banana.  Then added in the melted butters.
 Then I added 2 organic eggs and beat it again
Then I added 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 1/2 cups almond flour, 1/4 cup coconut flour, 2/3 tsp. Celtic sea salt and 1 tsp. baking soda and mixed it again
 Lastly, I mixed in 1 cup of small-diced fresh strawberries.
I dolloped it into muffin liners (13 of them) and baked at 350 for 28 minutes.
 So delicious!!!
22 07, 2013

Gluten-free Ginger Oat Crisps

By |July 22nd, 2013|cookies, gluten-free|0 Comments|

I have been a big fan of this blog for a few years now and was excited when I saw this recipe (clearly their photography isn’t done with an iPhone lol).  I knew it would be a winner, so I decided to give it a try today.  I doubled the recipe because I wanted to share the cookies.  They took all of 5 minutes to put together, so this is definitely one of those recipes you can whip up at the last minute when you’re craving a sweet treat.  The only change I made was to ‘up’ the amount of ginger and sub. cinnamon for the cloves (Perry is not a fan of cloves).  They are absolutely scrumptious.
Here’s what I did…
 I mixed together  1/2 cup coconut oil and 6 tbsp. of maple syrup.
 Added 1/4 cup buckwheat flour (I ground the whole buckwheat in my Vitamix first)
 Added 1/4 cup coconut milk (from a can, shaken to mix the thick and thin milk)
 I mixed all that together then added 1 1/3 cups large flake oats
 And 1/2 tsp. Celtic sea salt, 1 tbsp. ground ginger and 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dolloed it onto 2 parchment-lined cookie sheets (made 24 dollops, so 12 per sheet)
 Then flattened them out with my hand
 Baked them at 350F for 16 minutes, rotating the trays after 8 minutes.  Then left them on the trays for 5 minutes before removing to a wire cooling tray.
28 06, 2013

Foodie Pen Pals June

By |June 28th, 2013|foodie pen pals, kale|0 Comments|

Well it’s time for another food pen pals reveal.  This month, I was lucky to receive a box of goodies from Sam.  She really listened to my likes/dislikes and (self-imposed) dietary restrictions.  I was thrilled with the thoughtful things she sent me.
Here’s what I got…
 Here’s the box I received.
 Sam is the second person to wrap my goodies in a cereal box.  Great idea as it’s light in weight and a good size.  We don’t eat cereal, so I can only do the same when someone sends me one 🙂
 I mentioned that my biggest vice is potato chips, so Sam was kind enough to include these delicious ones.  I was happy to see they have no added MSG and nothing artificial.  They were treated as a big treat and didn’t last long between the 3 of us 🙂
 I haven’t tried this, but it sounds wonderful.  Sam said she bought it at a local farmers’ market.  I know it’s going to be great.
 I had never seen this before, but will be looking out for it for sure.  It’s sweetened with coconut palm sugar!  I could hardly believe it when I read that.  Again, it has nothing artificial in it.  It had a lovely deep, dark chocolate flavour and was gone pretty fast.
This curry masala was fantastic.  I used it with some ground grass-fed beef from a local farm and sauteed lots of onions, garlic, ginger, bell peppers & kale with it.  We loved it.
 Sam also included a lovely hand-written note to explain everything to me.
And last but not least, she included one of her favourite recipes.  I’ll be trying this very soon.  I’m a big fan of Thai soups and make one that’s popular with family and friends.  Mine’s with pumpkin and Sam’s is with sweet potatoes and shrimp.  It’ll be fun to compare the two.
So another foodie pen pals experience is under my belt and again it was a wonderful one.  If you’re interested in seeing what I sent, pop on over to Michelle’s blog If you’re interested in giving it a try yourself, just click on the “I love foodie pen pals” image at the top left-hand side of the page.
31 05, 2013

May Foodie Pen Pals

By |May 31st, 2013|foodie pen pals, gluten-free, Paleo|0 Comments|

Well it’s time for another Foodie pen pals package and I am absolutely thrilled with this month’s goodies.  My sweet pen pal Ceecee from B.C. really listened to what I told her in my e-mail and sent me the most wonderful selection of treats.
Here’s what I saw when I opened the box…
My first thought was that during my 3 months participating in foodie pen pals, I have received seaweed every single time.  I don’t think I mentioned to any of my pen pals that all three of us love it and eat it like it’s going out of style so I guess they are all psychic 🙂
 I’ve had wasabi seaweed before, but never this brand so I’m excited to try it.

 

 New kinds of dark chocolate for me to try…yum!
 Spicy salt!!!
 I’m really looking forward to experimenting with this curry powder.

 

Crunchy green beans.  Sounds delicious!!
OMG chocolate-covered potato chips.  These will obviously be a HUGE treat for me and I can’t wait to try them.
 Never tried teriyaki sunflower seeds, but I imagine they’ll be delicious.
Best foodie pen pal box ever.  Thanks so much to the lovely Ceecee!
And this month the foodie pen pal who was chosen for me was my sister Ashleigh.  I’m not sure if she took pics. of what I sent her, but I’ll be sure to ask if she’ll write a short guest post about the package.
27 05, 2013

Grain-free, no-added-sweetener Banana Bread

By |May 27th, 2013|cake|1 Comment|

 
I am so excited about this recipe.  I think it tastes almost like regular (made with wheat flour) banana bread, yet it has no grains and no added sugars of any kind!  
I’ve been avoiding bananas altogether for quite some time as they’re such a sweet, starchy fruit but the more I think about it, the more I think that there’s no reason I can’t use them to sweeten baked goods.  I figure if I’m using 2 or 3 bananas for a whole recipe, I’m not likely to be consuming more than maybe 1/4 of a banana at a time and that’s really not that much.  So I’m giving myself cautious permission to add them back into our diets.
I found this wonderful recipe this morning and knew it was the one I wanted to tinker with.  I really only made a couple of changes to the original recipe and that was to add one extra banana in place of the maple syrup it called for and a little bit more spice and salt.  I figured the moisture from the banana would replace the moisture in the maple syrup and it would also replace the sweetness.  The experiment worked!  It’s both sweet and moist and the texture is fantastic.  I know I’ll be making this one again soon and probably changing it up a little bit by adding nuts or 70% cocoa chocolate chips (if Krestan has his way).
Okay enough chatter and on to the recipe.  Here’s what I did…
 I added 3 bananas to my stand mixer.  Didn’t bother to mash them as the mixer is good at that 🙂
Added 2 organic eggs that my wonderful friend Teresa picked up for me at a local farm.
 To the mixer, I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of melted virgin coconut oil.
 I mixed it all together for a couple of minutes and as you can see, the mixer did a great job of mashing those bananas.
To a small bowl, I added 3/4 cup almond flour and 1/4 cup coconut flour.
I added 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 tsp. Celtic sea salt, 2 teaspoons (heaping) cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.
I cut a parchment sling to fit a glass 9×5 loaf pan and lightly greased the parts that the parchment didn’t cover.
I gave everything a quick mix until just combined and then spooned it into the prepared pan.
I baked it at 350F for one hour and then removed it from the oven.  I lifted it out by the parchment sling and placed it on a cooling rack for a couple of hours until cooled completely.
Then I sliced it up and was delighted with the texture and flavour.  Yum!
Grain-free Banana Bread

2 large eggs
3 ripe large bananas
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a parchment sling and line a 9X5 glass loaf pan.  Spray the edges that the parchment doesn’t cover.  Using a stand mixer, mix the eggs, bananas and melted coconut oil.  Mix it all until the bananas are nicely mashed up.  To a small bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Dump everything from the small bowl into the mixer bowl and mix until just combined.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for about an hour until top springs back when lightly pressed.  Allow to cool on a wire tray before slicing.